HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Have you checked out SantaThing, LibraryThing's gift-giving tradition?
dismiss
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Woman in the Dunes (1962)

by Kōbō Abe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,459514,300 (3.83)1 / 137
In this famous postwar Japanese novel, the first of Abe's to be translated into English, Niki Jumpei, an amateur entomologist in pursuit of a rare specimen of beetle, wanders into a strange seaside village, whose residents all live in sandpits. He is taken prisoner, and, along with a widow cast out by the community, he is forced to move into her sandpit and continually shovel away the sand that threatens to take over the village. In Niki's struggles to escape his prison and his developing relationship with the woman, he gradually comes to understand the existential nature of life.… (more)
  1. 100
    The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (freddlerabbit, chrisharpe)
  2. 70
    Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts by Samuel Beckett (christiguc)
  3. 41
    The Collector by John Fowles (Akkun)
  4. 10
    The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares (chrisharpe)
  5. 00
    The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: protagonists wind-up imprisoned in surreal and somewhat absurd circumstances
  6. 11
    Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino (freddlerabbit)
  7. 00
    Girl in Landscape by Jonathan Lethem (freddlerabbit)
  8. 01
    The Castle by Franz Kafka (Liondancer)
    Liondancer: Reading the cover text, I spontaneously thought "Kafka on the shore" (not meaning the same-name book by Haruki Murakami)
  9. 01
    The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (freddlerabbit)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (47)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
A wonderful Kafka-ish tale wrapped in an okay, very mid-century novel, and stuffed nearly to death with bad mid-century-existentialist 'philosophy.' The conceit is great: man gets trapped in a house amidst sand dunes; he and the woman who lives there have to continuously excavate the sand that threatens to destroy the house; he meditates ways to escape. The novelistic stuff is okay, but surprisingly recognizable as a Sixties period piece: lots of obviously unreliable free indirect and 'dramatic irony'.

The 'philosophy' is dreadful. Sex and death and existence and big themes and none of it really tied to anything interesting at all. I like lots of thought in my books, but this one made it pretty clear that for me to really care that thought has to be about something, and the so-called major themes are not something. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Interesting book. Strange Premise. I was down that hole for the whole book looking up at the sky. I've never really been claustrophobic but I could imagine this would be a book to avoid if you were. The premise, simply put, is of a man who is held captive down a sunken shaft in the dunes where a single dwelling is constantly threatened with the engulfment of the ever blowing sand. The only thing that holds this terrible fate at bay is to spend the time digging the sand out and for your captors to hoist it away in exchange for supplies. The woman of the title is the sole occupant of the house before the arrival of the man.

I guess you could read this story as a parallel of anyone's life in any country. Whilst being a Japanese novel it's inner truth is more global. I'm glad I read it ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Sand under your tongue
in the corner of your eyes
caked to sweaty skin. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
I loved the beginning - lyrical prose, whimsical, humorous, nerdy, it made me think I'd love this book. And it clearly is of great literary merit, I'm not denying its artistic value. It's really deep, has powerful symbolism and opens up further when studied in depth. BUT on Goodreads, my rating reflects my personal enjoyment, and this one was pretty arduous to read, felt very claustrophobic (which I didn't really enjoy while staying in quarantine myself), the characters were far from likable (although I did empathize with them) and it was very, very bleak.

The full misery of human existence, unvarnished. But without the love, the possibility of greatness, of heart-breaking beauty, that gives meaning to suffering. There is a glimmer of the emergence of kindness and love at the end, but it remains pretty painful and bleak anyway.

So, if you're the literary kind of reader who likes hard-hitting, powerful allegories about human life, you'll probably really like this. It just wasn't really for me at the moment. ( )
  Evamaren | Jun 7, 2020 |
I'm not gonna lie there were quite a few moments when I considered putting the book down, it was pretty slow to me. I think it was well written, I think it was incredibly interesting thematically and many times I found myself thinking about what Abe was really trying to say with some sections. Unfortunately I couldn't get myself to care very much about the main character, which is understandable I don't think the book was character driven. But I just found it difficult to latch onto anything which personally I think regardless of what you're trying to do or say with a story it's your obligation to keep your reader captivated. It's a good book, I think a lot of people will appreciate it more than I did. ( )
1 vote Treyvon | Mar 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kōbō Abeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abe, MachiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornips, ThérèseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gross, AlexCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saunders, E. DaleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
WITHOUT THE THREAT
OF PUNISHMENT
THERE IS NO JOY
IN FLIGHT
罰がなければ、逃げるたのしみもない
Dedication
First words
One day in August a man disappeared.
八月のある日、男が一人、行方不明になった。
Quotations
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Es gibt wahrhaftig kein wunderlicheres, so von Neid zerfressenes Wesen wie einen Schullehrer! Da strömen die Schüler Jahr für Jahr gleich einem Fluß an ihm vorbei, nur er selber bleibt wie ein tief auf dem Grund des Flusses liegender Stein zurück. Er kann wohl anderen von Hoffnungen erzählen, aber ihm selber sind sie nicht erlaubt. Er kommt sich nutzlos vor und verfällt entweder in selbstquälerischen Trübsinn oder wird ein Moralprediger, der anderen vorschreiben will, wie sie zu leben haben. Eigenwilligkeit und Tatkraft anderer müssen ihm schon deswegen zuwider sein, weil er selber sich aus tiefster Seele danach sehnt.
"... Schriftsteller werden zu wollen, bedeutet, von Egoismus besessen zu sein; man will sich von einer Marionette dadurch unterscheiden, daß man selber als Puppenspieler in Erscheinung tritt. Insofern unterscheidet man sich nicht wesentlich von Frauen, die ein Make-up benutzen."

"Das ist zu hart formuliert! Aber wenn sie schon das Wort Schriftsteller in diesem Sinne gebrauchen, sollten Sie wenigstens bis zu einem gewissen Grad zwischen einem Schriftsteller und dem Schreiben unterscheiden!"

"Ja, genau das meine ich. Eben aus diesem Grund wollte ich Schriftsteller werden. Und wenn mir das nicht gelingt, sehe ich nicht ein, weshalb ich schreiben sollte!"
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

In this famous postwar Japanese novel, the first of Abe's to be translated into English, Niki Jumpei, an amateur entomologist in pursuit of a rare specimen of beetle, wanders into a strange seaside village, whose residents all live in sandpits. He is taken prisoner, and, along with a widow cast out by the community, he is forced to move into her sandpit and continually shovel away the sand that threatens to take over the village. In Niki's struggles to escape his prison and his developing relationship with the woman, he gradually comes to understand the existential nature of life.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.83)
0.5 2
1 11
1.5 1
2 37
2.5 8
3 112
3.5 43
4 218
4.5 35
5 139

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 152,582,062 books! | Top bar: Always visible